I Try to Memorize Your Face

I try to memorize your face
like a rare map, but the depth
escapes me.  Somehow I must shadow
the archeologist who digs
through tunnels, sifts mounds and pits,
excavates marble effigies, spears and shields,
uncovers diadems and cruel breastplates.
Somehow he can make sense of earthenware
and secrets, even classifies them in foreign script.
How I envy ancient caryatids, classic maidens,
fraught with sculptural beauty,
arms hidden in folds of their robes,
to orchestrate more balance, supporting entablatures,
like Temple of Athena, Porch of Maidens,
with expressions flawless and certain.
How I mourn our lack of history, the questions that fled
like smoke.

—Beth Ellen Jack, Huntington Beach, CA